Katharine Byrne, Head of the BDO Corporate Finance team and a member of the BDO International M&A Group recently featured in The Irish Times Special Report on Mergers & Acquisitions.
As Head of Corporate Finance, Katharine’s role is to advise owner manager, high growth, and ambitious Irish companies.
“That includes all manner of advice including buying a company, selling a company, fundraising and even succession planning,” she says. Katharine has been working in M&A for 20 years and really enjoys it.
“The biggest trends we are witnessing with the evolution of the Irish M&A system is the internationalisation of this sector. International capital has been flowing into Ireland and that in turn has driven a lot of confidence and allowed Irish companies to scale and expand.”
“Previously Irish companies might have grown to a certain size and then they would have sold out. Whereas now, ambitious management teams and owners are looking beyond the limits of Irish borders into the UK, Europe and further afield.”
“In simple terms, M&A activity is underpinned by confidence.”
She notes that this confidence definitely took a hit, first by Brexit and then Covid, but the speed of the recovery impressed her. In 2019, BDO did 1,500 transactions and in 2020 that was up to 2020.
While tech is still the busiest sector, Katharine and BDO also saw growth in healthcare, notably nursing homes, while renewables attracted a lot of institutional capital, and finance was also busy, with consolidation in this sector, mostly focused on insurance.
Another reason for the flow of capital into the Irish M&A market is value. “The reality is that Irish firms are discounted in value terms compared to the UK. But increasingly perceived territorial boundaries are not relevant. A good project here can potentially scale anywhere in the world. That allows larger institutional funders to look at mid-tier companies which is great news for great companies in Ireland.”
Content adapted from The Irish Times.